The lovers of Ghazal have lost a voice like no other. Renowned musician and composer Jagjit Singh succumbed to his illnesses and passed away around 8 am, Monday morning, hospital officials said.
Singh was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Mumbai´s Lilavati Hospital on September 23, following brain hemorrhage and had undergone dual life saving surgeries.
He was 70 and is survived by his wife Chitra Singh.
The recipient of India´s third highest civilian honor, the Padma Bhushan, in 2003, Singh has sung in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Sindhi, and Nepali languages.
Singh will live on in the hearts and minds of millions of fans of all ages who listen to his music, and continue to collect his works. And the love of the maestro goes so far as to singers impersonating their idol, and some of them have become so good they are sure to keep him alive through his music.
A recipient of numerous awards, including the Best Singer from Radio Nepal in 2055 BS, Rambhakta Jojiju shared that Singh’s music is a regular request among the patrons of Ghar E’ Kabaab, Hotel De l’Annapurna in Kathmandu where Jojiju performs with his wife Itu regularly.
Ghazal had its roots in the Middle East and spread to India in the 12th century. The genre saw a revival in the 1970s and 1980s and at the forefront of this revolution was Singh. Instrumental in the evolution of this traditional music form, he incorporated Western instruments alongside Indian classical ones and pioneered the modern Ghazal sound.
Called Jeet by his family, Singh was born in Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan on February 8, 1941 to Amar Singh Dhiman and Bachan Kaur.
Singh initially embarked on studies to become an IAS officer at Kurukshetra University of Haryana, India, but destiny had something else planned for him, and he left for Mumbai in 1965 to try his luck as a singer/composer.
After years of struggle, Singh’s fame eventually rose beyond the realm of advertising jingles and performing at parties, securing a strong foothold in regional language and Bollywood cinema music. Singh’s breakthrough came in the critically acclaimed movie “Arth” by Mahesh Bhatt.
He went on to form a successful husband-wife duo with Chitra in the 1970s and 80s. Their duet “Woh Kagazki Kashti” is still among the most requested and air-played songs even on the Nepali airwaves.
The demand for Singh’s Ghazal is also evident in the consistent album sales at record stores. Sujan Thapa, salesperson at Suwal Music and Movies at Lazimpat, shared, “Jagjit Singh’s CD sale has always been positive. People come looking for his ghazals and they almost always look for his greatest hits.”